Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monster misstep in DA race

So I've gone out and collected signatures over the past 25 years with more petitions and campaign forms than I care to remember. And yes, on occasion somebody simply refused to sign, saying they did not support the idea--sometimes even saying they hated the idea.

My response was always something to the effect that by signing this preliminary form you are not voting to support it, only getting it (or me) on the ballot for the electorate to decide; and isn't that what grass roots democracy is all about?

And of course one of the sacred rights in America is the secrecy of your voting ballot. Although the state decided long ago that campaign petitions to get things on the ballot are public documents. So beware what you sign, because most folks will consider that a sign of support.

Michael A. Cahillane is doing major backpedaling at the moment--today's Daily Hampshire Gazette front page article and a live appearance on the Cantara show, my favorite WRNX radio program this morning, trying to explain why he signed the referendum petition to ban gay marriage back in 2005.

Ironically he worked as a prosecutor in the DA's office--a position he now seeks--and one of their responsibilities at the time was to enforce the Open Meeting and Public Documents Law. So you would think he would have known better, although his boss Betsy Scheibel was pretty well ensconced as DA--and most insiders would not have predicted her retirement only five years later.

Of course this major misstep would never have seen the light of print/bandwidth over the past 12 hours if two citizens did not take the time to write a 'Letter to the Editor' of the venerable Gazette.

The main mistake Mr. Cahillane made was to ignore their legitimate concerns--probably hoping the issue would never get out of the closet--rather then addressing it head on many months back, when apparently one of the letter writers first brought it to his attention.


Anonymous said...

I was leaning toward supporting Dave Sullivan anyway but Mr. Cahillane's signing a petition to put the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry to a vote has clinched my support for Dave Sullivan.

A minority's civil rights should NEVER be put to a vote so that the majority can strip them of those rights. And anyone who supports voting on a minority's civil rights will never receive my support.

TomG said...

Cahillane studied the law, made a profession of it and still signed a petition to ban gay marriage as if civil rights - marriage - repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court should be put to popular referedum?

Cahillane also petitioned the court to hold Jason Vassell without bail, a rarely used option that deprives a suspect of their freedom pre-judicially, because Cahillane said. he [Jason Vassell] was a menace to society. Imagine that?

If anything is perfectly clear, the locally raised and educated Cahillane has terribly bad professional judgment.

I don't know much about the other candidate but I do know enough about Cahillane that I would not vote for him, his lovely wife and her two lovely greyhounds notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Gay marriage. The death of morality. Now I know how my parents felt about my generation.

Anonymous said...

Too many snap judgments from too little evidence.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 8:43 - Gay marriage is the death of morality? No, what is the death of morality is depriving a minority of the rights automatically given to the rest of us, thereby labeling the minority "less than." Your personal opinion is just that. Personal. And your so-called "morality" is shameful. It's people like you who would have kept blacks and whites from intermarrying, and kept Jews in the quota system. Leave the gays alone and grow up. We all have enough problems and certainly don't need to be subjected to your version of "morality." Morality has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Cahillane performance in the Jason Vassell case is well documented and hardly qualifies as a "snap judgment." He did not have a clear picture of what transpired to put the suspect on the docket if he argued to withhold bail and take Vassell's freedom pre-judicially. Especially as compared to how he charged the other two in the incident.

I suspect I should be more tolerant of those who are intolerant of gay people's right to marry but I will say this, civil rights should not be subject to a referendum by the mob, whether you support the right or not.

Anonymous said...

You'd have to believe gay marriage is a civil right to determine whether or not it should be put to a referendum vote.


I realize that gay lifestyle, including legal gay marriage will become more accepted in society as generations pass. Just as women voting, blacks citizenship, inter-racial relationships, and rock and roll. I'm not trying to stop it.

Unfortunately, it's really no use. But I can still believe what I believe.

LarryK4 said...


And strangely enough for all those who consider Larry Kelley the endangered-token-ultimate-red-neck-Amherst-Republican, I firmly believe that gay marriage IS a civil right.

And no, I am not gay.

But, as an American you are most certainly entitled to your differing opinion.

So too are the wackos who believe 9/11 and Pearl Harbor were "inside jobs" orchestrated by our own government.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the most offensive terms is gay "lifestyle." Do those of you who are not gay live a heterosexual "lifestyle?"

Gay people are born that way, just as heterosexual people are. Why should I be denied rights that those practicing a heterosexual "lifestyle" take for granted?

Gay marriage IS most assuredly a civil right. And for those of you who think being gay is a choice, who in their right mind would CHOOSE to be gay and have their civil rights trampled upon daily!!!

Being gay is NOT a choice..and neither is it a lifestyle any more than being heterosexual is a lifestyle.

LarryK4 said...


And if the hetero-marriage lifestyle were so damn special, why is the divorce rate in America about 50%?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:05 AM:

"Cahillane's performance in the Jason Vassell case is well documented and hardly qualifies as a 'snap judgement'".

Just what do you think you know about it? Have you seen a grand jury transcript? Do you know what each witness testified to in the grand jury?

God save us from voters like you.

Anonymous said...

Hey all ye know-it-alls on the Vasell case


Here's the law on self-defense. Read it carefully.

JohnnyH said...

Funny how Dave Sullivan is pretending to be a progressive because he gave money to the Vassell campaign. The guy is the Registrar of Probate - the biggest do-nothing, hack job in the state.

If he was a real progressive, he would eliminate that archaic position and free the money his office wastes for useful purposes.

He runs his county government job as a personal patronage department. The reason that a hack like Sullivan even wants to be DA is simple… so he can more jobs for his family and friends that we pay for. We are in serious trouble if he is let loose in the DA’s office.

Katherine Hayford said...

On that historic day in May of 2004, my partner of 5 years and I stood 7th in line to receive our marriage license at the clerks office in Northampton. In July of 2004, I legally married my partner in a wonderful ceremony at the First Churches in Northampton, with a reception for approx 140 people at the Hotel Northampton. Among the guests for this memorable day was my wife’s cousin, Michael Cahillane and his wife Christine. They were there not out of a sense of family duty; they were there in support of our relationship and in support of our right to be married. Michael was as happy for us as he has been for any other of his friends and family at their weddings, maybe more. He and Chrissy had a wonderfully fun time and still comment to us how great and moving that day was.

I am writing this letter because there has been much written lately about Michael Cahillane that would suggest that he does not support same sex marriage. I would like to go on record to say that I know this to be false. No matter what petition was signed or what the opposition says, Michael Cahillane does not oppose same sex marriage. I say this not only because Mike was at our wedding but because I know Michael Cahillane; the man. I have seen the pain in his eyes as he has talked quite openly about this issue with me. He tells the truth when he says it is a “deeply personal” subject for him. It truly is.

The people of Hampshire & Franklin Counties, straight or gay, would be lucky to have Michael Cahillane as their next District Attorney. I have truly never met a man with more integrity, dedication, and devotion to the people that he serves.

LarryK4 said...

If I were a prosecutor and you were on the witness stand I would ask when did Mr. Cahillane come out and tell you he signed that homophobic petition?

I'm not questioning his word when he says he is far from anti-gay, I'm just questioning his judgment signing that clearly anti-gay petition.

And even more so his stonewalling for months after he was questioned about it and only came out with the explanation when the Gazette published those two letters.